Wednesday, 8 August 2012

Post #10

Allowing mobile devices in the classroom is risky business.  I found students were constantly sending texts and looking things up on the internet during class time.  Taking cell phones away from students is necessary, although an interruption to class discussions.  Occasional use of cell phones in the classroom, for the educational purposes, can be fun.  However, I somewhat agree with the commenter at the bottom of the article who says, “Sad,,,,the Poll everywhere thing is a joke...a novelty that does ZERO to enhance education.In order for pollanywhere to be effective in the classroom it would have to be used in a consistent manner over a number of classes.  More often than not, however, it is used once, mainly it seems for the purpose of having the students believe that the teacher is hip to the newest technologies.  This only goes so far.  Gimmicks are fun, but when it comes to real educational value, pollanywhere has its limitations.

In any case, personal digital devices are becoming more and more common, so we are going to be seeing a whole lot more of them being used in the classroom.  It is good that there is an active debate over how and when these devices should be allowed. 

Japan Prezi

Post #9

This article talks about different aspects of PowerPoint.  I agree with this article, especially the fact that many PowerPoints are ineffective, as they either put too much text on slides or the slides are made without aesthetic consideration.  When done well, however, a PowerPoint presentation can be extremely effective.  It was the first program that was popular for people to use to make digital presentations and added so much in comparison with traditional methods such as writing on the blackboard or overhead projector.  It must have cut down in preparation time as well, as it takes time for the teacher to draw complicated graphs on the blackboard or to prepare an overhead for class. 

Google slideshow and Prezi are other options teachers can use, and in the future there will be increasingly more.  One day, in the not-too-distant future, we will be able to display holograms for our students, or all tap into virtual reality servers.  We will be able to visit a virtual simulation of Stonehenge instead of just reading about it in a book or looking at pictures of it.

I personally prefer Prezi over PowerPoint, because I enjoy creating the visual concept with which to embed my slides and it offers more potential for creativity in general.  PowerPoint is 2D, whereas Prezi is 3D.  This offers an entire extra dimension to work with.

Post #8

It was an eye-opening experience to live in Japan for three years and see the dynamic of people working together who were brought up in a collective or group-oriented culture.  In comparison with Canada, Japanese people are extremely good at working together.  In addition, group harmony is a very important aspect of their culture.  Therefore, the typical drama that occurs in any office or team environment in Canada basically doesn’t happen in Japan, because people tend not to challenge each other, in favour of maintaining harmonious relationships.   A very eye-opening experience, because it surprises me how poor westerners are, at times, at working together.   Of course, university students are accustomed to doing group projects, but high school students have a difficult time working together, which makes it important for us as teachers to make sure our students to work with each other “harmoniously”.